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Old 01-19-2003, 05:41 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 127
300E 86 servicing question

after taking the car to a local mechanic and to the dealership...they quoted me roughly $5K of repairs in order to make the car drive considerably well... the odometer is stuck at 171000 for the past 3 years now and its my dads car. no maintanance has been done on the car for a long time and i'm begining to feel the effects of it now. timing chain hasn't been changed at all even since he bought the car used at 80000 miles....

my question is, is it worth fix this car? if i decide to trade the much would a potential dealer give me as a trade in? any comments are appreciated...thanks a bunch.


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Old 01-19-2003, 10:29 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Wrightsville Beach NC
Posts: 1,512

Without seeing the car and knowing the specific details of its condition I can say this; These cars can be expensive if not properly maintained. If there are a lot of things wrong with it I would say get rid of it and find another used 300E. There are plenty out there for @ $5000. With that said Mine has 245,000 on the clock and runs great but I have had the usual alternator, thermostat, radiator and now the water pump go out. Which in my opinion is going to eventually happen with any car you buy. I will also add that I bougt my car from a Mercedes Service tech. Try to post some pics and give us some more details on her to make our decision. There is one member on here who says the most expensive Mercedes is a cheap one !!! Hope this helps.


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Old 01-19-2003, 10:36 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 2,657
Allen, it's possible to have a car that drives "considerably well" and still needs a lot of work. Assuming the drivetrain is where most of the money will be spent you need to decide if you can live with the little ( or not so little ) things the car may need. Power seat switches, window regulators, etc. are some of the nickel and dime items that can add up. A/C or climate control repairs can get pretty expensive so make sure all this is in good working order. It's up to you to decide if you'll enjoy the car after putting a large sum of money into it. Be advised though, on a car with high mileage and an odometer that hasn't worked for three years, you probably won't get your money back if you decide to sell it later. On the other hand, if the body and interior are in excellent condition, fixing the mechanical stuff makes good sense. Also, the lack of maintenance may or may not be a problem. As long as it had regular oil/filter changes and transmission service, it should be OK. Most of the other maintenance items can be put off for awhile without any ill effect. As far as trade-in value at a dealer, the best way to find out is to ask. Lastly, I'm sure the other members of this forum will respond with some good info/ideas, so stay tuned.
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Old 01-19-2003, 07:16 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 127
there are a few things inside of the car that really needs work....A/C system is pretty bad...i remember seeing bubbles in that little tank on the right side of the car...i think it that freon canister or something....and the heater isn't all that hot now these days....several buttons on the center pannel wont push down and the front windshield is cracked....there was no maintanance done on the sunroof and it makes a poping noise when it is extended up.....

so now what do you think....worth keeping now? or trading?

any comments are greatly appreciated
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Old 01-19-2003, 10:26 PM
haasman's Avatar
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Location: San Francisco, CA
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Is it rusty? Whats the list? Brakes or shocks? Hows the paint? Interior? Depending .....

You might want to sell it and use the $5k to get a better maintained car ....
'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)
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Old 01-20-2003, 12:00 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 572
The timing chains on 103 motors are short which translates into more durable. Unless the oil was seriously neglected, this component is not an issue.

I agree with ILUVMILS introductory coment. If it's a daily driver, it might last a good long time. Lack of heat could simply be a diaphragm for the heater control valve more commonly known as the monovalve.

It all depends on what you want - a show car or a daily driver.
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Old 01-20-2003, 02:04 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 127
well heres the list the techs gave me...
1. washer pump worn out = $30.00
2. water pump & hose = $496.80
3. upper & lower rad. hoses = 37.40
4. radiator = 275.00
5. radiator res. tank, all cracked = 80.00
6. ft engine cover leak = 224.50
7. strut mounts = 219.00
8. brake fluid = 58.00
9. all wiper blades = 38.00
10. diff. bushings = 340.00
11. trany seals inside/outside leaking = 950
12. ft. struts assembly = 512.00
13. center drag link & left tie rod = 230.30
14. timing chain = 390.08
15. dis. cap & rotors, spark plugs, and oil change = 300
16. replace power steering hoses = 100.00

the interior....
1. odometer is shot.
2. heater puts out not much heat.
3. tracks on the sunroof needs servicing.
4. leather interior, dry and crack...some places torn.
5. becker cassett deck does not work.
6. A/C control dont work
7. front left and right window regulators.
8. ft windshield is cracked across.

outer trim.....
1. we had a paint job done on the car about 4 years ago. its a bad job because now we have rust spots forming on some areas of the car...front fender area and a little on the hood.
2. front and rear bumpers are extremely scratched. had a few minor accidents.
3. front hood grill has dents and isnt flush to the left hood light assembly...had an accident 2 years ago. but not really that bad.

well thats all of the list and all of the things i can think of....
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Old 01-20-2003, 02:15 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 8,150

All typical wear and tear on a 300E with this milage.

Water pump and radiator are must do items, as you will roast the head without them, and this gets seriously expensive.

Tune-up will pay for itself in fuel over six months, no earthly reason not to do that.

Struts can wait a while, the make it handle funny are ride hard, but you can live with that.

The front engine cover leak will re-occur in 30,000 miles max, my mechanic calls this "a typcial oil leak" and only fixes it when he has to -- not worth the customer dissatisfaction from a "broken" repair.

However, none of this is beyond the average home mechanic except the front struts (requires a spring compressor, I think) and the transmission. I'd replace with a rebuild (and check with someone else, too -- might not be the pump leaking). Rebuilt tranny is about $1500 plus removal and installation. The belt tensioner is a big pain, too.

What you need to think about is how you can spread out the repairs on a more or less monthly basis, then figure out what you will have when you get done compared to what you will have to pay for a newer car. For the cost of a car payment for a year, you will have a nearly new car, compared to the three or four years payments you might need to make to replace the car!

1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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Old 01-20-2003, 02:19 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,097

If you are faced with approx $5k worth of repairs: sell it.

Get whatever you can for it. Go find another one. Find one that has records, a history of someone repairing as it needed things.

Our '91 300E was this kind of car. All books and records. Yes I have put money into it but the car is and was well worth it.

There are a ton of good 300Es around. Find a good one and you will be really glad you did.

My 2 cents,


'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)
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